UW-Eau Claire Alumni

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award
2018 Recipients

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award: Recognizes distinguished service to the community, state or nation in a manner that brings credit upon the recipient and the university.

Anh-tuyet Nguyen
Anh-tuyet Nguyen

Anh-Tuyet Nguyen ’80, bachelor’s degree in mathematics 

Anh-Tuyet Nguyen was 19 years old and had been a law student in Vietnam when she and her family arrived as refugees in the U.S. in 1975. Overcoming language barriers and making a switch from law to mathematics (because, in Nguyen’s words, “it was and still is a universal language”), she ultimately earned her college degree and went on to a successful career in the insurance industry.

Nguyen had a successful career with Fortis Inc. (now Assurant Inc.), beginning in the actuarial department and progressing to roles as a system analyst and eventually IT director and project manager. A highlight was a three-year assignment at corporate headquarters in The Netherlands to promote cross-cultural corporate synergies. Along the way, Nguyen also earned her master’s degree in international management from the University of St. Thomas. She retired from Fortis in 1999.

“I had the good fortune to retire early after more than 18 years with the same company to follow my passion for the performing arts from when I was a young girl,” Nguyen said. She serves or has served on the boards of several arts organizations, including Dance to Unite, The Joyce Theater Foundation, Film Forum and the New York Opera Society, all in New York City. She also served on the steering committee of the New York chapter of the United Way’s Women United in Philanthropy.

Marcia Van Beek
Marcia Van Beek

Marcia Van Beek ’73, bachelor’s degree in social work 

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire, Marcia Van Beek went on to earn a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota in 1975. She soon began a 22-year career working with children with emotional and behavioral needs at the Eau Claire Academy, starting as a psychotherapist and eventually as director of social services and then executive director of the academy.

In 2000, Van Beek started a new career as the director of major gifts for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. It was a natural fit, as the university is a special place for Van Beek and her extended family. Not only did she meet her husband there, but five of their siblings and spouses, their son, and three nieces and nephews are alumni; another three family members attended; and a niece currently attends UW-Eau Claire.

“Our family believes that, having climbed our great university’s ladder to success, we must not pull that ladder up behind us,” Van Beek said. “Because of that, my second career working for the future of our university has been especially satisfying.”

In her role at the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, Van Beek, who retires this summer, has been essential to the success of two comprehensive fundraising campaigns, and she has cultivated relationships that have served the university immensely. She also has provided leadership beyond campus, serving as a charter member of The Master Singers, the Chippewa Valley Symphony, and other community non-profit organizations.


View the list of past recipients of this award.